WORDS: ADAM HOPKIN

Since one of the UK’s hottest exports returned from hiatus in 2016 they wasted no time in firmly establishing their place releasing the phenomenal ‘Promise Everything’ and soon after taking their place alongside household names, Paramore, Panic at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots by signing to Fueled By Ramen Records.

“Honestly a dream come true”, grins Basement’s vocalist Andrew Fisher when discussing the new signing, and the band’s colossal run of dates alongside industry heavyweights Weezer and the Pixies. “I can’t really express how ridiculous this all is. We feel so lucky to be a part of that tour…I don’t really hope to take anything away from it, but it will be a learning curve playing shows of that scale.”

“The self-reflection and depreciation I participate in feels almost cathartic”

From the outside things are looking pretty peachy for the Ipswich outfit but their latest, harrowingly accessible release ‘Beside Myself’ sheds light on a more human side to the group. “That’s always how I have been and how I write” explains Andrew discussing how his deepest and most venerable moments shaped the band’s latest release. “The self-reflection and depreciation I participate in feels almost cathartic to me and it’s how I feel most inspired to be creative. It’s the one thing I have complete control over and that I feel totally comfortable exploring because it’s me and it’s the negative aspects of me. I don’t like arrogance in any form, to a fault, where I actually see any form of confidence (with regards to myself) as arrogance and so shy away from it.”

With their latest effort being so boldly introspective, tackling mental health, detachment and distance, Andrew explains that he was careful to be more open-minded to the group’s input during writing, perhaps making this the most enjoyable writing experience for the band to date. “Without everyone’s individual input the record would be nowhere near as good and as ‘us’ as it is. It made it 100 times better and more rounded and whole.”

“…..that drove me to put out something I felt proud to call rock and alternative.”

Finding themselves creating their first full-length release on a major label, many artists could have buckled under the pressure to put together a career defining release, but Fisher and the lads found themselves doing exactly what Beside Myself strives to do at its core, just live in the moment. “We just wanted to make sure we were performing to the best of our ability and go in and have fun and create music we were proud of,” explains the frontman, “I respect people that can have that kind of intense drive and focus, but I think I’d lose my mind if I allowed myself to think like that completely. Obviously, those thoughts are floating around in my subconscious, but I know I would be setting myself up for failure if I let them take control of how I make music.”

“I feel that rock music is going in a really weird direction lately”, he continued. “Bands that sound nothing like what I would deem as rock or alternative are being labelled as such and that drove me to put out something that I felt proud to call rock and alternative.”

Fisher may find relief in his intimate musings but throughout the process of writing and recording ‘Beside Myself’, he says that the band found the time to not only assess themselves but develop themselves and their craft. “We learnt how to work better with each other and with a producer. We learnt that taking time to prepare for the recording process is incredibly important. We learnt what was important to us with regards to what makes a song good in our minds. I personally learnt that it’s ok to have bad days and perform poorly because when you cultivate a supportive and healthy creative environment around people that support and truly believe in what you’re doing, there will always be another opportunity to perform better.”

“I’m no cooler than you because you like my band.”

Despite the major success the lads are enjoying, as Fisher explains they are still as grounded as ever, always keeping their roots in mind .“When I was at shows growing up the scene was inclusive and supportive and when you weren’t playing your set you were going off to the other bands on the bill – there was no “us and them”, it was just a scene.” It’s this refreshingly unassertive and respectful outlook that separates Basement from so many other artists. These guys let their music do the talking and all those that join them for the ride are playing their integral part in the Basement community. “There is no difference between me and the audience.” Says Fisher modestly, “I am not elevated to a different level, unlike what a lot of people prefer to think. Anyone can be in a band. It just happens that some bands are better than others and some bands are luckier than others. The fact my band is on a major label doesn’t mean I now feel different or better to anyone coming to the shows.”

“We’re all people. We’re all the same.” Andrew continues, “I’m no cooler than you because you like my band. You’re cooler than me because you support genuine creative freedom and an alternative music scene. So thank you.”

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